As Punk goes, there are plenty of bands who have veered further away from the ‘original’ rebellious elements which were so prominent in the 1990s and ended up making music more towards to the pop end of the spectrum. This isn’t to say that these bands aren’t making good music, but that their sound is more accessible than the likes of the Ramones or the Sex Pistols. One such band is the New York-based We Are the In Crowd. Consisting of Taylor Jardine, Jordan Eckes, Mike Ferri, Rob Chianelli and Cameron Hurley, this five-piece mixes elements of pop together with hints of punk to create a catchy (albeit slightly repetitive) sound. Having just rounded up a tour of the United Kingdom, their second album Weird Kids is released next week.
Weird Kids kicks off with the anthemic Long Live the Kids. Starting slowly with strings and pianos, Jardine’s sharp vocals accompany marching band drums as they build up into a fast verse and epic, arena-sized chorus. The lyrics are self-reflective yet predictable (by pop punk standards), yet this doesn’t take away from the powerful emphasis in the vocals. Lead single The Best Thing (That Never Happened) follows, with hand-clap drum beats and a scuzzy guitar riff. Once again there’s a catchy chorus (something which is everpresent on this records) and lyrics which see Taylor Jardine attack an ex-boyfriend in the politest of ways (“So toxic, you aint nothing but a prick”) before telling him what he’s missing. It’s a short and punchy track, with a brilliant climax which leads into the equally anthemic Manners. Manners see’s Jardine engage in some call-and-response vocals with guitarist Jordan Eckes, showing off lyrics which cover the same predictable subjects (love & relationships for the most part) over an equally predictable (yet great) instrumental formula. Eckes’ vocals are an accurate representation of what We Are the In Crowd featuring Mark Hoppus would sound like, which is a collaboration we’d all probably want to hear at some point! Come Back Home is a slow-burning acoustic ballad featuring more call-and-response lyrics as the song builds up into a sing-a-long chorus and bridge, before Attention brings the album back up to speed with fast paced riffs and intense verses. This is punk rock at its finest, with another Blink-182 meets All Time Low chorus bringing the album to a halfway point.
Dreaming Out Loud reintroduces scuzzy guitars, making it sound a bit edgier compared to the previous songs. The chorus is quite catchy, with Jardine’s standalone line “here’s to dreaming out loud” being one of the songs high points. It’s one of the better songs on the album, with the repetitive pop-punk formula being utilized to its full potential. Remember (To Forget You) starts off with an extremely cringey opening line (“all of my exes live in Texas”), backed up by electric drums and a steady bassline. This one’s more reminiscent of All Time Low, particularly in the use of electric drums and a chorus which is more pop than punk. Don’t You Worry starts with keyboard strings and an upright bass (which eventually morphs into a synthesizer), preceding a hands-in-the-air chorus in which Jardine addresses a “sister” not to be worried about a thing. It’s another example of predictable pop-punk formula’s, but bands like We Are the In Crowd thrive on these formula’s to reel in fan after fan. Penultimate song Windows in Heaven features more electronic drums and handclaps, whilst slowly building up into a lighters-in-the-air chorus. This one’s more filler than killer, with this track’s potential not being entirely fulfilled, despite showing so much promise at the start. It’s at this point where we reach the final song on Weird Kids, an album which clocks in at just over 30 minutes long. Reflections starts off up-tempo and keeps this pace throughout the song, allowing the album to finish on a massive high. The chorus is one of the biggest on the album, once again showing lyrics about self-reassurance and pride. Fast-paced synths accompany the final climax where the speed really picks up before a final run of the chorus brings the album to a strong end.
Weird Kids is a record which, despite all its predictable formulas and lyrics, will go down as one of the best pop punk albums in recent time. If this band continues the way they are (despite having the potential to try out loads of different styles) right now, they may well be finding themselves in the big leagues of pop punk alongside acts such as All Time Low, Blink-182 and early Green Day.